2 Rights Activists Arrested Under POTA in Sri Lanka - The New Indian Express

2 Rights Activists Arrested Under POTA in Sri Lanka

Published: 18th March 2014 08:48 AM

Last Updated: 18th March 2014 08:48 AM

On a day Sri Lankan police arrested two rights activists under anti-terrorism law to prevent them from spreading “communal disharmony”, ahead of voting on a resolution against the country at the UNHRC, 17 students of Dr Ambedkar Government Law College launched an indefinite stir demanding that the Centre introduce its own resolution against alleged rights abuse in Lanka.

“Two people were arrested at 10.30 pm on Sunday under the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They were acting so as to promote communal disharmony,” police spokesman  in Colombo said.

The arrests came ahead a key meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later this month that is expected to pass a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka over its alleged rights abuses during the ethnic war with LTTE rebels.

Human rights groups said the arrested activists were Father Praveen, Director of the Jaffna-based Center for Peace and Reconciliation and Ruki Fernando of the Colombo-based INFORM, a human rights documentation center. They were arrested from the northern town of Kilinochchi.

The Kilinochchi’s police chief said: “Ruki Fernando and Rev Praveen behaved in a suspicious manner as they visited some families of those who have lost their family members.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council resolution is the third in as many years on Sri Lanka’s accountability and reconciliation with the Tamil minority after the end of the 37-year ethnic conflict.

Meanwhile, the US on Monday expressed concern over the arrest of the two rights activists. “The United States government is concerned about the arrests and detention of several well-known Sri Lankan human rights defenders and activists over the past week,” a US Embassy statement in Colombo said.

“We urge Sri Lankan government authorities to ensure that all those detained are given transparent and due legal process, including full access to legal counsel,” it said.

“With these actions, we remain convinced that continued scrutiny by the Human Rights Council is necessary,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, in Chennai, the protesting law students accused New Delhi of failing to prevent the genocide of Tamils in the island nation during the final phase of war with the LTTE.

“This should not continue. A separate Eelam will only be the solution to ensure a dignified life of Tamils in the country,” they claimed.

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